Benjamin, No 8, Issue 1

 (2020) No 8, Issue 1



Challenges to EU Integration in the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic


Pages: 49-68



The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the ways that COVID-19 has challenged the EU’s diplomatic community and its narratives of solidarity. The period of focus for this paper is from late-February to early-April 2020. This paper discusses three main areas that concretely show these challenges. First, EU diplomatic integration was consternated due to the nature of the COVID-19 crisis. Second, the EU’s vulnerability amid the crisis offered Beijing an opportunity to foster or enhance diplomatic ties with European countries, to the misfortune of Brussels. Third, discourses over economic measures to mitigate the COVID-19 recession inflamed EU relations, partly because the disagreements reflect longstanding discrepancies in EU economic distribution. Throughout the paper, it is argued that COVID-19 is a critical juncture for the EU, and that how it responds to this crisis will greatly affect the quality of its diplomatic relations and integrations in the future.


COVID-19 Pandemic, European Union Integration, Balkans, China, mask diplomacy



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